Monday, September 23, 2013

Live Deliberately: Following Your Dreams

One thing I want to make sure that all of my readers understand is that Deliberate Living doesn't have anything to do with the size of your house. Changing your life in positive ways doesn't have to be confined to 120 square feet. Going tiny was the one big push that finally gave us the opportunity, and courage, to do everything else we had been putting off in our lives. It kicked us in the ass and got us moving. Your motivation may be quite different.

The tiny house was a big project that we could put our whole effort behind that we knew in the end would change our lives if we allowed it. Building it was an adventure but living in it could profoundly affect everything. 

As I mentioned in my last post, going tiny allowed me to pay off my debts and reduce my expenses. That was only half of the process. It also allowed me to take a really big chance with my life and get out of a cycle that was slowly killing me.

For me, working a regular job in a corporate environment was not empowering. My dream since I was a little girl was to be a writer. For years I set aside the notion in order to do things that were more "practical" and ultimately more conventional. "Being" a writer is hard. All along I knew that no one was going to tap me on the shoulder and announce that I was now a writer. I was only one standing in my own way.

Everyone's dreams are different. You may love your job. You may love your home. This is absolutely great. I support you 100%. But if you don't, what are you doing to change things?

In my life I have known a lot of amazing people. Smart people. People who have a lot to contribute to the world. When we were in our twenties we were practically beating the drums of revolution. Now, twenty years later, I talk to some of the same people and find that they have set aside these dreams for more practical endeavors. They've lost that spark and it is hard for them to see how to get it back.

No one knows how long they have on this planet. You may think you have your entire life ahead of you but things can change in an instant. Matt's father died at 47 and this profoundly affected Matt's life at a very young age. He knew by the age of 8 that he couldn't wait until he was 50 to start living.

No matter where you are in life or what you're doing there is always a chance to rediscover passion for things you care about. Take small steps to make them possible. 

When I was coming home from work in tears more often than not I knew that I had to make a change or I would die. I don't mean this philosophically. I mean that it was absolutely critical I do something about my own situation or I would reach a breaking point. It was time to stop living this manufactured life that I thought was what I wanted and follow a different path all together.

There are always "reasons" to put things off. You can wait until you have a certain amount of money in savings. You can wait until you reach a certain age. You can tell yourself you need to get to a set milestone before you can start your own adventure. But all of these put off living.

Here is a true story that affected me greatly. While I was working in staffing we had a contact, an HR manager at a big company. She and her husband had been saving for retirement during their careers and they bought an RV. They planned to retire and travel the country. No more than a month or so after they both retired from their jobs, her husband passed away unexpectedly. They had planned their whole lives to have this time together and it never happened. I'm simply not willing to wait that long.

What dreams do you have? How can you follow them starting today?

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post Laura, this is exactly what I went through and felt when I made the decision to take charge of my life after losing my job and home. I don't know what the future holds but I don't want to put off living my life the way I choose any longer.

    I realize I have to make some big sacrifices (well, what some people would call sacrifices) to live free and deliberately but I am willing to make them to have what I want. I found a quote that I have on my blog that I think really sums up what I felt when I made my decision to live deliberately and what you are also conveying here in your post.

    "The most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later."

    None of us know's what's in store for us "later" as your friend found out. We don't know how our health will be, what the economy will do next, or what will be happening in the world. So much of it is out of our control, except we can control what we choose to do. It's not always an easy path, but it's worth it if it's the right one.

    Thank you for re-affirming that the choice I made was the right one (especially on those especially challenging days when things aren't always working out how you hoped or planned!) :)

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  2. "No one knows how long they have on this planet. You may think you have your entire life ahead of you but things can change in an instant. Matt's father died at 47 and this profoundly affected Matt's life at a very young age. He knew by the age of 8 that he couldn't wait until he was 50 to start living."

    We are experiencing this right now with the death of La's papa, my husband. Our world has been profoundly changed, and I am really trying to allow myself to be changed personally. I don't think people really get it. It sounds like a cliché, that no one knows how much time they have so appreciate every day, and I think that is precisely why people continue putting off living for so long.

    You can know something intellectually but not really know it on a cellular level. I think part of living deliberately is going out of your way to understand things deeply, to experience life fully and to respect and know that it can all be over in an instant.

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  3. People ask me "Why do you want to build such a small house?" My answer is usually "Why would I want to build any bigger?" You're right, Laura. Deliberate living has nothing to do with the size of one's house. Other factors will determine the size of my house and they are my budget (I am building a house that I can afford) and my needs or wants (I need a bed, a bathroom, a kitchen, a comfortable place to read, and a workspace). When I say I need or want certain things they are determined by my budget. If I couldn't afford, say, a dedicated workspace (with a view, I might add) I would change my plans. The fact that I do want a work area has meant that my tiny house is a deal bigger than many others. I'm okay with that as this isn't a race to be the smallest. For me, at least, it is about my budget and my needs and wants.

    People also question me about my want to buy so far away. This largely comes down to budget. The further from the big cities you are, the cheaper the land. "But why not save for a bit longer and buy something closer in?" Because I don't want to. I want to start living more deliberately as soon as I can. "Then why not rent a place rather than go to all the trouble and expense of buying land and building a house?" Because if I rented I'd be whittling away all my savings, the money that I have worked hard and endured suffering for, only to have nothing in return. My current day job, where I earn good money, I hope, will be my last stint of this. I am going to make the money work hard for me as I no longer want to work hard for the money (there's a bit of Donna Summer for you!). And it's important, for my 'new' life to be sustainable, to acquire assets that don't cost much to maintain after my initial expenditure.

    Not only is this opportunity about rediscovering old passions but seeking out new ones. I want to get bored, I want to discover new things; new loves.

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  4. This is a beautiful post and truly heartfelt. Our process to move into tiny has been going on for about 3 years and it all started with being introduced to the possibility of living a life in which we were not shackled by a large house and high expenses. Once we made the jump we haven't looked back. Now homesteading our 5 acre property, we are building a compound of sorts of tiny structures and the piece de resistance is our 221 sqft tiny house on a trailer. It's an adventure as we race to get ourselves moved in before the first snow falls. In the end I think will mother nature will win that race, but we sure are giving it everything we've got!

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